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Holidays in Pittenweem

An ancient bolthole for fishermen, smugglers and missionaries

UK | Scotland | Central Scotland | Fife | Pittenweem
Views over Fife

Pittenweem is a picture postcard harbour town on the East Neuk coast of Fife. It’s remarkable because it’s the only village to retain its fishing culture and tradition. Translated, Pittenweem means ‘place of the cave’ and refers to St Fillan’s Cave found on Cove Wynd. The village is just a short drive away from the historical and cultured city of Edinburgh and 40 minutes from St Andrews.

Take a boat trip off-shore 6 miles to the Isle of May which is thriving with puffins and other seabirds. Managed and owned by Scottish Natural Heritage, see for yourself why the island is nicknamed the ‘Jewel of the Forth’.

The white house with red roofs are characteristic of Pittenweem illustrating the local East Neuk building styles and methods that were influenced by having a shared trade route with European low land countries like the Netherlands and Belgium. The ships from these countries brought the red pantiles along as ballast, but the eagle-eyed locals soon appropriated them for the town’s roofs. Nowadays, Pittenweem is recognised as one of Scotland’s best-preserved and loved historic buildings.

Saint Andrews Castle ruins

As you’d expect in such attractive surroundings there are quite a few places of historical interest in and around Pittenweem to include on your holiday itinerary. The Church of Scotland is worth a look because it’s where the local imprisoned accused ‘witches’ during the 17th and 18th century. Also go to the aforementioned cave/converted chapel called St Fillan’s. The cave can be accessed with a key kept at the Cocoa Tree Café on the High Street.

The Pittenweem Fish & Chip Shop is worth a stop because the fish is almost guaranteed to be landed in the harbour. There are some good amenities around the town where you can stock up on basics too. For a good evening meal try The Pittenweem Inn on the harbour where you can watch the fishing fleet arrive at high tide. However, most of the eateries are a few miles up the coast in Anstruther. The closest Visit Scotland office is in St Andrews, for local tips and information.

"Pittenweem has an interesting history involving witch hunts…"

An 8 mile stretch of the long distance Fife Coastal Path links the East Neuk villages of St Monans, Pittenweem, Anstruther and Crail together. It’s a great nature walk with views over the North Sea to the Isle of May. The route is waymarked but if ypu get lost, just keep the sea at your side and you can’t go wrong. Take the trail on a bonny day and wear good shoes as some of the route is grassy.

For day trips out of Pittenweem zoom over to St Andrews, famous for its golf courses and good restaurants. A trip to Edinburgh will take up a whole day but an absolute must – visit our page for itinerary inspiration.

We have some great cottages in Pittenweem and along the East Neuk coast. Why not visit our collection for inspiration?

While you’re there

Kellie Castle

Once the childhood summer home of Scottish architect Sir Robert Lorimer and brother, John Henry Lorimer.

St Fillan's Cave

Discover an ancient cave once used by a saint to write his sermons in the dark.

Scotland's Secret Bunker

Descend underground to discover the Scottish government's fully equipped secret bunker

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